FINALLY! I was able to make it to my very first blog conference. The BlogPaws conference was at the top of my list to attend because it’s the first blog community that I was apart of. Come Wag Along started off as a blog about my experiences as a dog mom so it was great to be around others who get it. BlogPaws Conference 2017 was in Myrtle Beach, SC this year which is only a few hours from me so there was no way I was missing it! My experience at the blog conference was amazing and I’m so glad I decided to attend.
I learned so much information that my mind is all over the place. Look at how long it took me to get this blog post published! I have so many things I want to put in motion from what I’ve learned that it’s kind of overwhelming. I’m super motivated from all of the sessions I attended and the keynote speakers that I heard. Let me break down just how awesome my BlogPaws experience was.
Traveling to the BlogPaws Conference
Road trip! I didn’t travel alone because I actually don’t like to and besides my dog could come with! The BlogPaws Conference is pet friendly! I also decided to purchase the hubs a blogger pass so he could come with. He’s my travel buddy and my awesome photographer too. He drove the whole way while Simba and I chilled and turnt up to the music. This was Simba’s first time being in the car for over two hours and he did very well. The road trip was 4 hours which wasn’t too bad at all.
BlogPaws Conference Hotel
We stayed at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center where the conference was held. The hotel was lovely and of course pet friendly. Our room was spacious and the beds were LOVE! All of the food was delicious. I would definitely stay there again.
It was so cool to finally be able to meet the person behind the blog! I met so many people that I have been talking to online for years or had just recently started talking to online. I made sure I met some of my favorite pet bloggers and social media influencers, but I didn’t get to take a picture with them all. Everyone was so friendly and their pets were adorable! Some people recognized Simba before they even noticed me so Simba was a star! It was also cool that people did indeed recognize me and even told me how much they loved my blog! “You’re Kia from Come Wag Along right?” or “OMG is this Simba!?” It really was an awesome experience! Several people wanted to take Simba home with them too, but you know I wasn’t having that hahaha.
Alison – SarcasticDog.com
Heather – BridleandBone.com
Patricia – ThatCatBlog.com
Meesha – IPartyWithBruceWayne.com
Aimee – IrresistiblePets.com
Carol – FidoseOfReality.com
Jane – Pawbellish.com
I was even able to create a video with two other BlogPaws newbies which was too much fun!
Gaining Knowledge at Sessions
The sessions were amazing! I truly learned so much and was taking notes like crazy in every session I attended. I even had my husband to go to a session on his own because it was the same time as another one I wanted to attend. There were so many sessions that were at the same time that I almost went cray cray. I had to choose which one I really wanted to go to, but I wanted to attend ALL the sessions! I seriously needed a clone. Thankfully some people I knew took notes in their sessions and shared them in the BlogPaws 2017 Newbie Facebook group I created along with Heather of BridleandBone.com. If you love Facebook groups and were a newbie to the BlogPaws conference feel free to join! We are still interacting with each other after the conference in many different ways!
My absolute favorite sessions would have to be:
- How to Setup Shop and Monetize Selling Your Own Product by Rochelle of The Broke Dog
- The Power of Engagement: How to Build it and Why it Matters by Bernard Lima-Chavez of The Graffiti Dog and Maggie Marton of Oh My Dog Blog,
- Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram: How to Make them Work for You by Elizabeth Keene of Chronicles of Cardigan, Kelsie Mckenzie of It’s Dog or Nothing, and Ryan Carter of Camping with Dogs
These were the sessions I had to make sure I didn’t miss because all of these things are my main focus for my blog. I eventually want to start selling some products. Engagement is key and I’d love to know how to be better at engaging with my audience. Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are the main social media platforms that I want to win at. All of the speakers did a phenomenal job and I am already putting to use some of the things I learned. Ryan Carter’s story was inspiring and I even incorporated some of his Instagram techniques already. Attending this blog conference was so worth it for the sessions alone! So much information!
The Sip and Paint event with Red Roof Inn was so much fun! It’s so cool that everyone is getting the same instruction, but everyone’s painting is pretty unique. I’m in love with my painting although those palm trees were a pain, but I still love it! Happy Hour was a great time to get to know people better. I also attended VIP lunches with Bayer and Natural Balance. It was awesome to interact with them in a smaller group setting.
Connecting with Brands
I loved actually meeting brands face to face. I mentioned all of the brands on Twitter that I was interested in meeting beforehand. Everyone was super friendly and of course I snagged a business card from them all. I wasn’t nervous at all which Simba and the hubs probably helped with that, but I feel that I made a good impression with them all. These brands are giving back to pets in major ways which I will touch on in later posts. I can’t wait to work with some of them! Thanks for coming to BlogPaws!
It was great to meet the Bayer team at the conference. I am a Bayer Pet Influencer this year which is an amazing opportunity and I am thankful for it. They really care about pets and that is definitely something I’d love to be apart of. I am an influencer with many other pet bloggers I know which is awesome! Bayer provided transportation and took us all out to eat at a pet friendly restaurant which was Simba’s very first time. It was great and I had a wonderful time.
Motivation from Keynote Speakers
Both keynote speakers were awesome! Kathleen Gage’s keynote was super inspiring and Jay Baer’s was motivational. I actually took notes during Jay Baer’s keynote because everything he said I could put to use with my blog and social media right now. Thanks to him I’m going to be more useful to my audience and think like a TV station. He really got me pumped so let’s do this!
Red Carpet & Awards Ceremony
Fancy, fancy! The pets didn’t play any games with their fashion and neither did their owners. Everyone looked so nice on the red carpet. It was our very first time at a red carpet event and we loved strutting our stuff. We received plenty of compliments as well as gave compliments to many. The awards ceremony was great. Congrats to all of the winners! We even knew several people that won and are so happy for them!
I am so proud of Simba! He did so well at the conference. He was so well behaved. Simba was cool with every dog he met. He didn’t mind sitting with me at sessions or when we ate. I would definitely take him to the BlogPaws Conference again or anywhere that is dog friendly! Simba is going to love all the swag we received when we finally dig into it. There is so much swag from brands that you really did need an extra bag or suitcase to put all of the stuff in! We will show you later! Simba and I thank you for all of the swag!
Whew! That was a mouthful. As you can see my BlogPaws experience was amazing. I learned a lot of valuable information about blogging and social media that I’m putting to use. I connected with brands and bloggers I have been talking to on social media for years. It’s so worth it! I recommend all bloggers/influencers to go to a conference at least once! You won’t regret all of the useful information or the connections you will make by attending.
How was your first blog conference experience? Share in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you.